Wednesday 31 May 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 566: White-necked Heron

The White-Necked Heron (Ardea pacifica) is also known as the Pacific Heron, and its widespread in Australia - although absent from parts of the centre of the continent.  I consider this to be a slightly unusual bird to see, and it is far less common than the White-Faced heron in my part of Australia.

This bird, which is a juvenile, was feeding in a textbook location - flooded grassland.  The extent of the spots on the neck indicate that this is not an adult bird. 

This bird was feeding on frogs (I think) and crickets.  You can see one the crickets in caught in the pictures.  The bird was also regularly hack up a pellet of undigested material, which suggest to me that crickets are a pretty rough food source.

The bird was on one side of a road feeding in the grass and I was parked on the other side. Unfortunately for me, the bird took a dislike to a passing truck and flew off!  Bit of a shame really as it was being rather cooperative!

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Wednesday 24 May 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 565 - White-headed stilt

White-headed Stilts (Himantopus leucocephalus) are a regular sight at Werribee - but I never mind seeing such an elegant bird.  They are described in one of the field guides here as having 'absurdly' long legs - and while I take the point, I would say that 'remarkably' would have been a better word to use.

This individual is an immature bird, and has yet to fully develop the black colouration in the back of its neck.

Unfortunately, this bird seemed to have some fishing line trailing from its legs, along I cant see it in the pictures taken later in the sequence.  Hopefully is rapid movements in this pool untangled the line from its leg.  (I fish myself, and the amount of line I collect from the bank is depressing really)

Anyway, this is a gorgeous bird and the light and reflections were pretty good.

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Wednesday 17 May 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 564 - Brown Falcon

Back at Werribee for this week's WBW.

The Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) is a common and widespread Australian bird of prey, occurring over all of the continent.  It is a little larger than a Peregrine Falcon, but does not share its worldwide distribution.

These pictures are of the same bird sitting on two different locations on a fence at the Western Treatment Plant.  I waited for the bird to hunt and return to its post, but it did not oblige - although it did rid itself of its last meal!

These picture show the 'double teardrop' that encloses a pale cheek patch, which is diagnostic of this bird. 

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Wednesday 10 May 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 563 - Bullers Albatross

Back out on the depths of the ocean this week with Buller's Albatross (Thalassarche bulleri).

This bird shows some of the things that you have to look for when trying to identify species of albatross.  Variation in head colour, beak colour and general shape and 'build' are all important.

To be honest, one of the best ways to know which albatross you are looking at is to ask an expert - and luckily for me there were a few on my boat.  Unluckily for me, most of my attempts at pictures of Buller's on the wing failed!  Better luck (or maybe skill) later!

As you can see from one of these images, the Buller's has a much darker head and different colour beak to the more abundant Shy Albatross.

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Sunday 7 May 2023


Launceston is a city in Northern Tasmania, and is the second largest town in the island state.   I took a brief wander around, and as ever I found myself taking pictures of buildings, small details and statues.

I think its a nice place, although I have only ever spent single nights there on the way to, or back, from somewhere else.

The statue is of Ronald Campbell Gunn, a botanist. 


Wednesday 3 May 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 562 - Tasmanian Native Hen

 The Tasmanian Native Hen (Tribonyx mortierii) is an endemic flightless rail, only found in (would you believe it) Tasmania!

They are pretty common over about 3/4 of Tassie, and in fact the road from Hobart Airport into the city is a reliable place to find them.  I suspect this makes them one of the easier endemics to find anywhere in the world.  (I suppose the hardest bit is getting to Tasmania in the first place!)

These birds are constantly alert, and sound a sound honking call when alarmed.  They also run very fast.  At one point in my recent Tassie trip I had a family (?) of four the dashed down the middle of the road in front of my car for at least 200m before they worked out that a left turn would be a good idea.

The local name for this bird is Turbo Chook, or just Chooks and they do rather behave like chickens.

These are pictures from a number of locations around Tasmania.

As you may be able to see in the 3rd picture, their tail has a very 'up and down' structure rather than a 'left to right' build.  This tail is always in motion.

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